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Sunday, December 4, 2022

Review: Vrk – Palimpsesto Retrospectivo Da Memória

Label: Nigra Mors Productions

Date: February 15th, 2022

Here’s the thing about minimalism. It is misunderstood way too often. A lot of people think of it as a genre instead of a form of expression within a certain work of art. This way we are faced with a lot of abuse by untalented people who have a desire to be artists. In most cases it turns out plain boring. Especially in music. More precisely, in black metal where it turns into this whole “raw and primitive” worship of the cult. In the end, people are heading to extremes. I’m avoiding the word “musicians” intentionally.

One does need skill, even for minimalism. Vrk is the project that looks for it and displays it on this, their third recording.

Now, of course, Vrk, as none of the other similar projects, is not created for the big masses. “Palimpsesto Retrospectivo Da Memória” is, after all, released in just thirty three copies, so even the ones interested in this form of art will have trouble getting to this demo.

Regarding the recording itself, it follows the initial idea of Vrk. To some extent at least. As far as I could gather from an interview I’ve read a while back, the intention was to produce a noisy and crude black metal. On the previous releases, the duo produced just that, with as little variations as necessary. “Palimpsesto Retrospectivo Da Memória” presents a somewhat different approach. For instance, “De berros e bágoas e pedras”, the second track of the demo, is basically a (hardcore) punk song wrapped in the crude black metal coating. The same can be said for “Nos montes do desamparo”.

The rest of the songs bear that unrelenting Mediterranean / South American approach to extreme metal. A mixture of black, death and thrash with the recognizable atmosphere surrounding them. Except the minute long outro with piano, some sampling and a whispering voice.

But there’s not much noise involved in Vrk on this demo. Perhaps the one link still remaining is the guitar sound, which is quite raspy and forms a knot with the age old rehearsal takes. Still, purists be at ease, the whole is listenable and clear enough so that you can discern every note.

Since I started the review with talk of minimalism, it needs to be said that Vrk keeps to its desired features. Minimalist it is. However, the band managed not to drown in endless repetition by keeping the songs short and to the point. The whole demo contains six tracks and lasts just under thirteen minutes. For its longevity, there is enough variety on display. You will not get bored.

As for the rest, it is pretty much up to your personal taste. Like I said, this is not for everyone. Still, I’m sure there are enough of devoted fans of the genre. What’s more, with the punk influences, previously unheard in Vrk, there might be a small opening for a further exploration of fandom.